Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Leblon/Ipanema) “Ciudade Maravilhosa”

2019/2024 (2 months)

Update (2024): Finally, I'm back! Since my last time here, I've visited 5 other Brazilian cities (Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Floripa, and Campinas) even though I knew I liked Rio. My desire for exploration is stronger. Similar to 2019, the quality of life here, with the giant beach next to a modern city, is unbeatable. It's probably the most liberal society I experienced, even moreso than Madrid. The dating scene got hard since I remember in 2019! Plenty of options, but hard to get a date. Another reason I like beach cities: turns the city into a morning city, people wake up early and go to the beach. I don't like when I go outside at 8am, it's a ghost town.

Final thoughts (2019): the seamless integration of 4 beaches and a big city with nature (biggest urban forest in the world!) is flawless. Copacabana beach is good, but the area surrounding it is trashy. Flamenco is my favorite beach because it's more local. Learning Portuguese is a must (very limited English or Spanish). The cost of living is moderate (see pricing table below). A big downside is the cafe scene, very few true cafe's. If you like big butts, this will be your paradise. Very low air pollution. Very walkable, great transit system, ok on the cleanliness of streets, though lots of homeless/poor.

Air Quality: 85-95 out of 100 (excellent)

Water Quality: 77ppm (ok)

Best Coffee Shop: 22 Special Coffee Leblon

Join me on a helicopter ride over Christ the Redeemer!

Most Instagrammable: Portuguese Reading Room

  • To text hahaha/lol you can use kkkkkk, rs (risos means laughs), huahuahua
  • Virtually zero air pollution
  • Download MudeFit, an application with free fitness classes on the beach including Yoga
  • Plastic straws are illegal so they use these disintegrating and flimsy paper straws. Drink fast because paper and water do not mix well!
  • The cafe scene here is terrible. Limited true coffee shops and the "espressos" are just Americanos. Can't even get a morning coffee high!
  • The best massage I ever got in my entire life was here. I paid 175R ($43). Interestingly, there are only a few massage shops in all of Leblon and Ipanema. Confirmed in 2024 with 2 other masseuses, both excellent.
  • I love these electric scooters and they are everywhere
  • One of the only large cities (5M+) with legitimate beaches immediately next to the city
  • People love Açaí here! Like everyone.
  • An "Americano" coffee is not a thing here
  • Best coworking space: Templo (It's listed on google as an event space and there's no signage. The other spaces I went to don't offer day passes)
  • Secret hike: Two Brother's Cliff just outside Leblon. This is not to be confused with Dois Irmaos. Both times I went here there was less than 5 people. It's a short 20 minute hike to the top with great views of Leblon/Ipanema and a lake.
  • Dental cleaning in a nice office in Lebon is 700-850R or $150 (compare to Medellin at 150k COP or $40)

Portuguese Language Phrases and Keywords

Bom dia/boa tarde/boa noche - good morning/afternoon/evening (d is pronounced 'j')

Obrigado - thank you (girls use an 'a' on the end)

Por favor - please

Cuanto? - How much?

Tchau - Bye

Eu estou aprendendo português - I am learning Portuguese

Banheiro - bathroom

Você fala inglês? - Do you speak English?

Gostoso - tasty

Como você diz? - How do you say?


  • Flamengo - laid back nightlife, good happy hour for people who work in the area
  • Lagoa - young professionals
  • Ipanema - Garcia D'Avila (expensive street), Farme de Amoedo (gay street)
  • Leblon - upscale
  • Botafogo -
  • Copacabana - famous beach
  • Santa Teresa - hipster
  • Lapa - main nightlife area



Known For: Copacabana beach, Samba dance, Carnaval, Ronaldinho (soccer player), Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Caipirinhas, Feijoada, Bossa Nova music
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I choose the items below as they’re generally available everywhere. Thus, easy for comparison. The prices reflect the cheapest option given my standard. In any estination you can find slightly cheaper prices if you wanted to sacrifice convenience (ie going to local market or out-of-town grocery store).
  • Airbnb Nightly Rate
  • Electric Scooter
  • Coworking Day Pass
  • 1-Hour Massage
  • 1-Month Gym
  • Beard Trim
  • 16.9oz Water
  • 2KG Wash+Fold
  • Americano (small)
  • Expresso
  • Salmon
  • Tenderloin
  • Chicken Breast
  • Almonds
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Broccoli
  • Carrot
  • Cucumber
  • Kiwi
  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon
  • Red Wine
  • 239
  • 3 (unblock) + 0.50/min
  • 80
  • 175
  • 99
  • 30
  • 1.69
  • 12.50/KG
  • 7
  • 6
  • 85/KG
  • 80/KG
  • 13.59/KG
  • 76.50/KG
  • 60/KG
  • 17/KG
  • 4/KG
  • -/KG
  • 4/KG
  • 2.4/KG
  • 14/KG
  • 5.49/KG
  • 3.49/KG
  • 18
  • 44
  • 0.55 + 0.09/min
  • 15
  • 32
  • 18
  • 5.53
  • 0.31
  • 1.05/LB
  • 1.11
  • 1.11
  • 7.12/LB
  • 6.70/LB
  • 8.05/LB
  • 6.40/LB
  • 35.04/LB
  • 1.42/LB
  • 0.33/LB
  • 0/LB
  • 2.35/LB
  • 0.20/LB
  • 1.17/LB
  • 1.01/piece
  • 0.29/LB
  • 3.32
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